After securing their first win of the season last weekend, the Swans travel to Deepdale looking to win back-to-back league games for the first time since April. Swansea also won in midweek in the Carabao Cup, beating League One side Plymouth Argyle 4-1 at home.
Preston also picked up their first league game of the season last weekend, beating newly promoted Peterborough 1-0 at home. They followed that up with a 4-2 Carabao Cup win away at League One Morecambe
Their transfer window so far
Preston kicked off their transfer window by signing Liam Lindsay from Stoke City for an undisclosed fee. The 25-year-old centre back spent the second half of last season on loan at Preston and made the move permanent in June. This came two years after his £2 million move to Stoke from Barnsley. Last season, he made 13 league appearances for Preston, scoring twice. He has played three times for them so far this campaign.
After eight years at Chelsea, Izzy Brown finally completed a permanent move away from the Blues, joining Preston on a free transfer in July. The 24-year-old playmaker enjoyed seven loan spells while at Chelsea, spending last season at Sheffield Wednesday. However, Brown suffered a ruptured Achilles in training after just one friendly appearance. The injury could see him miss the entire 2021/22 season.
Also joining the club on permanent deals were Matthew Olosunde and Jamie Thomas. Olosunde, a Manchester United youth product, joined from Rotherham. The 23-year-old right-back has played once for the United States senior team and made 64 appearances in his two seasons at Rotherham. Meanwhile, Jamie Thomas joined after a brief spell at Bamber Bridge. He has represented Wales at U19 level but has spent much of his senior career at non-league clubs. His last league appearance for a professional club came in the 2016-17 season, while on loan at Ayr United in Scotland.
Preston have also made two loan signings. The first was Sepp van den Berg, who joined from Liverpool. The 19-year-old Dutch defender returned to the club after spending the second half of last season on loan at Preston, where he made 16 league appearances. He has featured in all four of their league games so far, starting three as a right wing-back.
Lastly, they also re-signed 24-year-old goalkeeper Daniel Iversen on loan from Leicester City. He played 23 Championship games last season and has started in all four of their games so far this campaign.
While they have made six signings, Preston lost several players on free transfers this season. One-time Wales international Billy Bodin joined Oxford United after two-and-a-half years at Deepdale. Graham Burke returned to his native Ireland to join Shamrock Rovers, after spending the last two seasons on loan at the Irish club.
Josh Ginnelly, Louis Moult and Lewis Earl left to join Hearts, Burton Albion, and Stockport County respectively, while Paul Gallagher retired at the age of 36.
Preston’s only transfer fee received came from Jayden Stockley, who joined Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee.
On Tuesday night, Morgan Whittaker scored Swansea’s first hattrick since the 2010-11 play-off final. That hattrick was scored by Scott Sinclair, who has been at Preston since 2020. The 32-year-old winger played for Swansea from 2010-2012, scoring 28 goals in 82 league outings. He left the Swans to join Premier League Champions Manchester City in 2012 but failed to make an impact at the club.
After a brief spell at Aston Villa, Sinclair reunited with ex-Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers at Celtic. There, he enjoyed his most prolific season, scoring 21 in 35 games. He remained at the Scottish club until 2020, when he left to join Preston. Since joining, he has scored 12 goals in 54 league outings, including a goal against Swansea back in February 2020.
Since the departure of Alex Neil in March 2021, Preston have been managed by his assistant, Frankie McAvoy. He took over as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2020-21 season, but after winning five of his eight games in charge, McAvoy was appointed as permanent head coach.
McAvoy is the first manager Swansea have faced so far this season that did not play football professionally. He began his career in 2003, joining Dunfermline Athletic as an academy coach. Two years later, he took up the same role at Hamilton Academical, before becoming academy director a few years on.
In 2013, he became a first-team coach under Alex Neil, when the latter took over as Hamilton manager. In their first full season together, they achieved promotion to the Scottish Premier League via the play-offs. They started the season well, before leaving the club in 2015 The two remained at the Scottish club until 2015, when they left to join then-Championship side Norwich City.
Norwich finished third in Neil and McAvoy’s first season, beating Ipswich Town 4-2 on aggregate to reach the play-off final. They met Middlesbrough, who had knocked out Brentford in the semi-final. Thanks to two goals in the first 15 minutes from Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond, Norwich were promoted back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
However, Norwich were relegated back to the Championship a year later, finishing 19th with 34 points. Neil was sacked in March 2017, with Norwich sat 8th in the Championship, nine points off the play-off places. Four months later, McAvoy followed Neil to Preston, taking the job in July 2017.
In their first season at Preston, the club finished seventh, missing out on the top-six by just two points. They followed that up with a 14th place finish, before coming ninth in 2019-20, four points below sixth-place Swansea.
Then in March 2021, Alex Neil was sacked with Preston sat in 16th. However, the club’s improved form under McAvoy meant they finished 13th, and just a single point off the top-half of the table.
Preston started this season with three successive league defeats, losing 4-1 at home to Hull City on the opening weekend, before back-to-back away defeats at Reading and Huddersfield. Their first win came last weekend, beating newly promoted Peterborough United 1-0, thanks to a first-half goal from Patrick Bauer.
Previous meetings with Preston
Since their relegation in 2018, Swansea have faced Preston six times, winning three, drawing two and losing once.
12th September 2020
Swansea opened the delayed 2020-21 season with a visit to Deepdale. After an uneventful first half, Swansea took the lead when Jake Bidwell’s cross was tapped in from close range by Morgan Gibbs-White on his debut. The goal came from Swansea’s only shot on target in the game. They held on, taking all three points back to South Wales.
5th April 2021
In the reverse fixture last season, the Swans welcomed Preston to the Liberty Stadium, desperate for a win after suffering three successive defeats. The game remained scoreless until the 91st minute, when a Scott Sinclair strike against his former club was turned in by Matt Grimes. Preston won 1-0, inflicting a fourth successive league defeat on Swansea.
After beating Bristol City away last weekend, Russell Martin’s side will no doubt be targeting back-to-back wins when they travel to Preston. The hosts have struggled so far this season, finding themselves in 20th place.
After impressing against Bristol City, Ethan Laird and Joel Piroe are both likely to start again, with Piroe scoring his second Championship goal to give Swansea their first win. The Swans will also be boosted by the returns of Kyle Naughton and Ryan Bennett, who both featured in their 4-1 win over Plymouth in the Carabao Cup.
Morgan Whittaker could be handed his first league start of the season, after scoring a late hattrick in that 4-1 win, while Dan Williams may also make his first Championship appearance. That win sets up a reunion with ex-Swansea boss Graham Potter in the next round, with the Swans travelling to Brighton in September in the next round of the Carabao Cup.
Swansea have not lost away to Preston since 2011, when an Iain Hume brace gave the hosts a 2-1 win, with Ashley Williams scoring for the Swans.
After the Preston game, Swansea’s next outing comes a fortnight later, when they host Hull City at the Swansea.com Stadium.